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The Power of Good Enough

I’m one of those people who hold stock in the idea of synchronicity.  Events and circumstances that may be seen by others as mere coincidence I often see as being either related to each other or of significance to each other – most often both.

This thought occurred to me when I sat down to write this post and considered the three main ideas I wanted to cover:

  • Perfectionism
  • Procrastination
  • Power

Notice anything?  Pretty obvious that they all start with “P”.  Now, just because three words start with the same letter doesn’t mean they’re related – but by the time you finish this post  I’m going to bet that you’ll agree with me that they these particular three words fit the synchronicity bill.

My last post talked about how those of us bootstrapping small (tiny for now) businesses have so many things to do that we often find ourselves in an “either/or” situation.

In particular, my last post dealt with the fact that most bootstrappers are looking to our businesses to make our living.  In order to do that successfully — and this holds true for those of us in the startup phase as well as those of us who’ve been at it for awhile — you need to have a written strategic plan AND you need to be networking and prospecting for customers and clients (not to mention providing services and/or products).

Either I do this, or I do that – I can only do one thing at a time — What do I do?

Here’s where the “Three P’s” come in.

“Either/Or” thinking, in my opinion, is a form of rationalization used by perfectionists.  And, to varying degrees, we’re ALL perfectionists.  The real truth is that we CAN get done what needs to be done – just not perfectly.

“If you’re not going to take the time to do it right, don’t do it at all” DOES NOT mean “If you’re not going to take the time to do it perfectly, don’t do it at all.”

In other words, perfectionism leads to procrastination.  In this case, you might put off going through the process of creating a written strategic plan because you can’t “do it right” when you’re running around drumming up business – or vice versa.  You find yourself running in circles putting the one off while you do the other – until things get to the point where you have to stop doing that one thing because, if you don’t, it means you can’t continue doing the other.

WHEW!!  Just writing that down made me dizzy – no wonder we get so stressed actually trying to conduct business like that!

But we’ve got one more “P” left in our pod:  “Power”.  Last post I referred to the fact that I have a secret weapon.  I do.  It is called “The Power of Good Enough”.

What can the Power of Good Enough do for you?


But let’s be clear here:  When I say “good enough” I don’t mean sloppy.  I don’t mean unprofessional.  I mean “good enough to get it done.”

What I mean is:   “So much better than not at all.”

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Preaching to the Choir

I’ve made a boo boo, and I’m here to correct it.

I’ve been going on and on about the how much we tiny small businesses need to do two things at once:  create a written strategic plan and network/prospect for business.  About how either/or thinking gets us into the trap of not getting our plan done because we need to be out there snagging paying customers in order to make a living.  We went over how you’ve got to start thinking fuzzy rather than thinking either/or — that these are two separate things that you can’t do at the same time.

I sort of got ahead of myself.  You see I made a very common error:  I was preaching to the choir (myself.)

I mean, certainly I know you need a strategic plan.  I assumed everyone (I’m a natural optimist, I anticipate a vast readership) also not only knew this — but also knew what I was talking about as well as agreed with me.

Somewhere along the zig zaggy roads of my career I read the following statement (or something like it):   “People like to do business with people they know, like and trust.”  Very true.

I’m thinking that perhaps I might take at least a post to get you to trust me when I say you need to create (and manage) a strategic plan.

A little history here:

A long time ago (well, I left a couple years ago) in a far away galaxy (California) I worked for a local chamber of commerce.  My boss, otherwise known as my CEO, was a very smart guy.  So he naturally held annual strategic planning sessions.

I’d never been to a strategic planning retreat in my life.  I’d heard of strategic planning, but never participated.  What it meant seemed a bit self-evident.  A strategy was something you did to get something you want.  Planning simply meant we were going to make a plan.

Eleven years of Catholic school kicked in and I did my research and ramped up on strategic planning for business.  I went blind surfing the web.  I went to very famous bookstore franchises, bought countless cups of coffee and read books on strategic planning for free.

(Letting me do this worked out for them as I usually also walked out having actually bought a book – now that sort of marketing strategy deserves a future post.)

By the time I left for the retreat I felt fairly confident I wouldn’t look like an idiot to our Very Important Corporate Top Officer board members.

And then I got really lucky.  I was assigned the task of acting as Retreat Recorder.  Even more fortunate was the fact that the consultant they’d hired to facilitate the retreat was exceptionally good at what she did.

After our weekend retreat I bounced back into the office the following Monday really hyped up and excited about this wonderful strategic plan that was being written for us.

Then I found out I was the one who was going to write it.  Yup.  Back to hours googling my brains out – clerks at the aforementioned bookstores started calling me by name.

Short story long – throughout the remainder of my tenure I became more and more intimately involved in the process of developing, facilitating, and managing our written strategic plan.   I found out two main things regarding strategic planning:

One, I’m extremely good at it.

Two, it works.

OK – hopefully after reading that when I say I’m “preaching to the choir” you’re at least considering becoming a member of the choir.

Stay tuned…

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Fuzzy Thinking

OK people, time to harness “The Power of Good Enough”.  (If you have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about take a couple minutes and read my previous post aptly entitled “The Power of Good Enough.”)

Last time I talked a bit about “either/or” thinking.  “Either I do this or I do that.”

Believe it or not, what’s holding you back is you’re thinking too clearly.  You’re thinking in black and white while living in color.  Think of it this way: when you learned to add, it went something like this:  1+1=2.  And that’s certainly true, one plus one DOES equal 2.

But that’s only because you’re only dealing with “two things” – “This Thing” and “That Thing”.

But running a business means you’re dealing with all sorts of “This Things” and “That Things.” What you’re really doing is dealing with “sets” of things and these sets of things are related to each other.  Confused?  Good, because in order to move forward, you have to stop thinking clearly and start thinking fuzzy.

Give me a break!  Is this woman crazy?  What does “thinking fuzzy” have to do with growing my business?

Only everything.

Turns out there are two ways of figuring things out.  Linear logic and multivalue logic. 

It’s mulitvalue logic – or “fuzzy” logic – that let’s your computer get zillions of things done at once.  Your computer thinks in terms of just two things, 0 and 1.  Turns out, there’s a giant space between 0 and 1 (“this” and “that”) which computer science type people weren’t using.  Using the set of “things” between 0 and 1 in all sorts of computer science ways is why we can now get angry when it takes more than a nano second for our computers to do whatever we want.

Fuzzy thinking helped speed up our computers – but what can it do for small business owners?

Here’s an example.  Let’s say you’re a start up business without a written strategic plan, or you’ve been around awhile and your plan has lost its relevance or things are getting out of control and you know you’ve got to bite the bullet and put a plan in place.

But you can’t seem to get your plan in order because you need to be out there running your business.

Seems pretty “either/or” at first glance.  But when you apply a dash of fuzzy thinking and a good dose of The Power of Good Enough guess what happens?  We see the relationship between all the sets of things you’ve got to do.

In other words, there’s a whole lot of networking and prospecting and all those other best practices we’re going to be talking more about in this blog that can get done in the process of putting your strategic plan together — AND — the information you get from prospecting and networking is necessary in order for you to write your strategic plan.

For example, putting your plan together means understanding what your customer (or clients) want.  Hmmm…getting out in front of customers and potential customers to find out what they want sounds like an opportunity to both attract new customers as well as retain current customers.  Getting your customers what they want requires networking with vendors and associated businesses who share a similar client base.  Guess what?  Networking with vendors and associated businesses brings to light both challenges and opportunities that help you identify strategies, set goals, and meet objectives – which are all components of effective planning.

Beautiful, isn’t it?

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